As long as I kept moving, my grief streamed out behind me like a swimmer's long hair in water. I knew the weight was there but it didn't touch me. Only when I stopped did the slick, dark stuff of it come floating around my face, catching my arms and throat till I began to drown. So I just didn't stop.
The substance of grief is not imaginary. It's as real as rope or the absence of air, and like both of those things it can kill. My body understood there was no safe place for me to be.
A mother's body remembers her babies--the folds of soft flesh, the softly furred scalp against her nose. Each child has its own entreaties to body and soul...By instinct rather than will, I stayed alive. I tried to flee from the grief. It wasn't the spirit but just a body that moved me from one place to another. I watched my hands, heard my mouth give orders. Avoided corners and stillness. When I had to pause for breath I stood in the open, in the center of a room or out in the yard...Listen. To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know. In perfect stillness, frankly, I've only found sorrow.
Monday, February 28, 2011
words i love
and while i'm quoting The Poisonwood Bible, there's another bit i loved. (can't say if i loved the book, but i did love the writing, especially this part.)